Budapest, Hungary – Hollywood star George Clooney has clashed with the Hungarian government after criticizing Prime Minister Viktor Orban and been accused of voicing the agenda of U.S. financier George Soros.
Orban’s Hungary an example of “hate and anger” according to Clooney
The spat was sparked last week after an interview of Clooney with GQ Magazine in which the actor spoke about his latest movie, The Midnight Sky, set in a post-apocalyptic world.
“We weren’t in the middle of a pandemic when [the shooting] happened, but there were still all these other elements, these elements of how much hate and anger all of us are experiencing at this moment of history”, the Ocean’s 11 star told the outlet. “Go to Bolsonaro in Brazil, or Orban in Hungary, look around, lots of anger and hate”, he said.
He went on: “[My new film] takes place in 2049. If you played it out this could very well be what our reality is if that kind of hate is allowed to fester”.
The Soros angle
The mention didn’t go unnoticed in Hungary, where officials were quick to accuse Clooney of doing the bidding of U.S. billionaire George Soros – a bête noire of Orban regularly used by the Hungarian government against its critics.
“Soros uses every opportunity to attack the Hungarian government”, said government spokesman Ors Farkas. “It is rather frustrating that there are actors, even non-political actors, who carry out such political intent for Soros”. Foreign Affairs spokesman also said that “nobody should treat [Clooney] like a global political oracle […] He has people whispering in his ears”.
Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto weighed in on the issue, writing in a Facebook post: “We like George Clooney as an actor… but his knowledge of history and politics seems to be somewhat limited”.
This line of attack was echoed by pro-government media outlets, several of which published pictures of Clooney alongside Soros’ son Alexander.
In a statement released through his agent, the Hollywood actor responded to the criticism from Budapest. “The Orban propaganda machine is lying, full stop”, he commented, saying that he had only met George Soros once at a UN meeting on the refugee crisis – as well as his son at one Davos event.
“I do not expect this answer to appear on most Hungarian news sites because they are owned and operated by the Orban regime or its close allies, but my voice will still be heard”, he added.
“I was [in Hungary] in the early 2000’s and walked the boardwalk of the Danube. At that point, Hungary was a shining example of democratic success. I look forward to the day that Hungary embraces what it once was”.
A few weeks ago, the Hungarian government had already clashed with then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden after he likened Hungary to other “totalitarian regimes” across the world.
You can find Clooney’s interview right below (30′ min for his Orban quote).